Sievers advances to national championship on vault

Iowa State junior Meghan Sievers prepares to compete on the bars at the Big 12 Championships. Sievers and the Cyclones finished in third place behind Oklahoma and Denver.

Austin Anderson

The gymnastics season has come to an end for Iowa State. The Cyclones finished fifth out of six teams in the NCAA regional in Minnesota on Saturday, putting up a score of 195.925. 

Junior Meaghan Sievers, however, will move on to the national championship in St. Louis on April 20-21 after she qualified on the vault.

Sievers qualifies for national championship

It was the exact same event in the exact same arena, and two years later, it is the exact same result for junior Meaghan Sievers.

At the NCAA regional in Minnesota on Saturday, Sievers scored a 9.925 on vault, and qualified for the NCAA national championship as an individual.

Sievers qualified at the Minnesota regional in 2016 as a freshman by tying for the lead with a 9.900. This time, she was alone at the top by tying her career-high.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to go back,” said Sievers in an Iowa State press release. “This is something we all work for in the gym every day. To be able to go there and represent Iowa State is very exciting and I couldn’t be happier to go there.”

Cyclones finish fifth

The standings stayed true to how the six teams were seeded. Oklahoma took first place by a wide margin with a 198.000. Kentucky came in second with a score of 197.050 to join Oklahoma in the national championship.

Denver was in the running until struggles on the balance beam ended those chances. Minnesota edged out the Cyclones for fourth with a 196.100 to the Cyclones’ 195.925. Iowa rounded out the field with 195.050.

The Cyclones started the meet off with a steady performance on the uneven bars. Seniors Haylee Young and Hilary Green led the way with 9.800s and the team didn’t have to count a fall on the way to a 48.850.

Then the Cyclones struggled on the balance beam in the second rotation. Freshman Sophia Steinmeyer started the event off with a 9.700. Sievers and sophomore Molly Russ followed with scores of 9.725. The Cyclones had one fall, which they later made up for, but the team still lacked big numbers to keep them in contention. Young had the team’s highest event score, a 9.850, to give Iowa State a 48.600 on the beam.

The Cyclones came out of a bye and had an impressive 49.225 on the floor exercise. Young again led the way with a 9.900, her fourth straight 9.900 on floor. Kelsey Paz and senior Briana Ledesma came in right behind with scores of 9.850 and 9.875, respectively.

Iowa State continued with another strong performance on the vault. Junior Kelly Martin scored a new career-high 9.825, and Steinmeyer matched hers, a 9.850.

Then Sievers had the vault that sent her to the national championship.

Young finished the night with a 9.850, bringing her all-around score to 39.400. Last season Young qualified for the national championships with an all-around score of 39.175. This season though, the competition was too good and Young fell just short of a return appearance.

One of the best seasons in recent memory comes to an end.

The Cyclones scored over 196 four times this season. They had a record of 19-8 and got off to the best start, record-wise, in head coach Jay Ronayne’s tenure.

The Cyclones will lose four key contributors to graduation. Haylee Young was a Big 12 champion and will go down as one of the best to do it at Iowa State. Hilary Green was a two time Big 12 event specialist of the season. Briana Ledesma went from nearly having to walk on, to being a team captain. Kelsey Paz was a two-time team captain her junior and senior season.

Iowa State has not only a lot of talent leaving, but a lot of character and leadership as well. Still, these seniors had more impact than just on the mat, and that might be the most challenging part of all to attempt to replace.

“My heart breaks that their careers have to end,” said coach Jay Ronayne in the press release. “They worked incredibly hard to get to where they are. It has to end somewhere, and I am so proud of everything they have done for Iowa State and Cyclone Gymnastics.”